A prayer of sorts
(by an old man, me of course)
As I age Lord my sense of manhood seems to change. When younger it was about muscles and vigor, endurance and lots of armor, pushups, and handstands, and lifting heavy weights, never admitting weakness, or even knowing of any in any real sense that I had any. I felt whole, strong, and together and foolishly thought my whole life would be thus.
Now when I look within, I see a vast ocean spotted with islands, with no boat to cross it’s raging waves, or bridge that I can walk over. My sense of self once secure is now in bits and pieces, showing how fearful I was when young of this truth. Perhaps there was a time when I was whole, before the one continent shifted and drifted apart, or perhaps exploded from some deep inner volcanic eruption that sent my sense of self flying over vast distances. There are times when I believe that these islands are slowly coming back over the horizon to one day come together. Then there will another earthquake before this reunion is complete, then what…..my death?
I am perhaps building bridges by writing, since I often don’t know what is going to come out when I sit down before my computer to pound the keyboard, so fast that even then I can’t always keep up with my drunken monkey mind, though it is in fact focused while I am sitting before the bright screen……a modern form of meditation perhaps.
I was a warrior of sorts when young, though I knew it not, so defensive to inner truth, as well as my own pain and yes unknown gifts and strengths, on my wild white horse racing forward. Now my path is strewn with this armor, and I feel naked at times, not knowing what to do with this new state, slowly arising over the years, this vulnerability, these soft, uncanny emotions that seem to want to melt me, which I still fear. Yet I can’t go back. My former armor would only crush me; I would not be able to breathe in its tight embrace. What was once needed would now be death dealing.
My wild ride, a white stallion, still bucks from time to time, but I can now calm its strident fear and anxious concern to run and trample in its fear and anger. I lean forward and whisper in its ear gently: “You are safe, in no danger; there is no rush, slow down”. Behold it does, and now there can be hours, even a day can go by without fear, or anger, intruding into my thoughts, studies and prayers. No, I and my trusty stead are now friends, I don’t need to control him with my will, but to only converse and see and listen to.
It started Lord many years ago a dream. I rejected your love, turned away and when I again faced in your direction you were there just looking at me. It was then that I saw my journey begin to unfold, though I was still quite young. I said in tears, something that at that time I did not do, to actually shed tears, well I still don’t know how……and stated to you in anger and rebellion, that I am afraid…..you looked at me….and said in a matter of fact voice” I know Mark, I know”. It was then that the seed took root, and the inner journey started.
I would not go back, nor do I regret my journey, my only sorrow is that I still fight you, but so did Jacob, and he was wounded, and so am I, and I am thankful for the wound, the pain, the struggle and you still ‘knowing’ in your gentle way.
So I am becoming unmanned, more gentle and even feeling from time to time, and then tears do flow, though I still don’t know how that happens……Some armor remains, perhaps only death will take that final resistance from me….so I stumble forward Lord in trust though I still struggle to what it now means to be a man of God.
I do know that it is in others that I see you, their beauty shows me your face and that you call us all to love more deeply and purely. I am glad that I am 64 years old, for it is then that each of us, as we age can perhaps be ourselves, as we move toward the horizon that awaits us all.